As the oral surgeon’s deft prying pulled out the tooth, I was prepared for the physical pain, but surprised by an emotional pang of loss. Was this departure of such a small part of me the cause? Or was it the knowledge that I would soon be rid of the decade-long annoyance that ultimately became decay and pain, the death of my bête-noire? And what of those who must have an organ removed, a limb amputated?
This tooth, a front one, had been integral to my visage, my presence; opened the skin of so many thousands of apples and teased the bosoms of lovers. It wasn’t ever perfect, except in those innocent days when I tore open sugar packets and poured the contents into my mouth. So its demise was a wretched one, and it didn’t give up easily.
The surgeon said she expected to have to pull out many shattered fragments before she could clean the foundation bone, and this is how it ended. She on my right, perhaps unaware she was pressing her warm body into my forearm; assistant was on my left, lightly grasping a sneering snake of small hose hissing, hovering over my tongue.
I had to say goodbye in the midst of my agony. Goodbye, you rebellious soldier, who served me so well for nearly six decades! I’d miss you, and in your stead would soon be a titaniam-posted counterfeit of dubious merit and no equity. I could only hope that one would do its duty–just break the apple skins. And smile.